Precinct News

Commissioner Ellis Wants County to Join SB4 Lawsuit

Commissioner Rodney Ellis will ask Harris County to join a lawsuit filed by several city and county governments that oppose Senate Bill 4 (SB4), the “show-me-your-papers” legislation.

“Senate Bill 4 unfairly targets vulnerable communities, makes our neighborhoods less safe, creates state-sanctioned racial profiling, violates rights to due process, and erodes the essential trust between law enforcement and the public,” Commissioner Ellis said. “It also undermines local governments by forcing them to choose between enforcing a blatantly unconstitutional law or facing strict punishment and excessive fines from the state. “

Commissioner Ellis filed a letter Tuesday (June 27) requesting Harris County Commissioners Court to vote on whether to join the lawsuit challenging SB4 at the Court’s next meeting on July 11.

As the nation's third-largest county with the fifth-largest foreign-born population, Commissioner Ellis said Harris County is at particular risk under SB4, which is scheduled to take effect this fall.

“Due to the serious harm that this legislation imposes on constituents, law enforcement agencies, our economy, our county government and each of us as elected officials, I believe Harris County must act swiftly to mitigate the negative consequences of this bill,” he said. “As Commissioner, I will continue to stand with immigrant families and defend the right of local government and law enforcement to set their own priorities.”

Commissioner Ellis previously wrote a letter on June 9 expressing his concerns about SB4 to Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, who submitted a declaration in the lawsuit on June 26 detailing the legislation’s dangerous impact on civil lawsuits involving abused and neglected children.

Additionally, Commissioner Ellis received a letter June 26 signed by more than a dozen Texas House members from Harris County asking Commissioners Court to join the lawsuit.

“As home to one of the most racially/ethnically diverse large metropolitan areas in the nation, Harris County cannot stand idle while the state tacitly encourages racial profiling and discrimination,” the letter said.